News Release

Egypt: Who Does Morsi Represent?


SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS [email], @sharifkouddous
Available for a limited number of interviews, Sharif Abdel Kouddous is a Democracy Now! correspondent based in Cairo. He reported this morning: “Six people were killed [in protests]. Over 670 have been injured. And many are laying the blame for this violence at the foot of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. …

“The Muslim Brotherhood is saying, ‘Look, we’re allowing for the democratic process to take place. If in fact there is a majority that does not approve this constitution, then let them speak at the polls. Let them speak with their votes.’ However, the opposition is saying that this is a false choice that is being presented to them, that on the one hand, there’s a choice of accepting a constitution that many members of the opposition, as well as members of the Coptic Christian church, Egypt’s [largest] minority group, did not have a hand in passing, and on the other hand, if the constitution is voted down, there has been no clear plan given by the president of what would happen then. Presumably, Morsi would retain these unchecked and sweeping powers that he granted himself in the decree. So, they’re saying that this is a false choice being presented to them.”

Associate professor of Arabic and comparative literature at University of California at Davis, Radwan was born in Egypt and was among the participants in the 18-day Tahrir protests in Jan-Feb. 2011. She said today: “In addition to the valid claims of being unethical, unpatriotic and contrary to the teachings of Islam that are filling the Egyptian media and most of its households, I would also add that the violent assaults orchestrated by the Muslim Brothers against the demonstrators protesting Morsi’s most recent constitutional decree outside of Al-Ittihadiyya presidential palace yesterday, December 5. 2012, are a tactical error on the part of the Brotherhood. It is an act of arrogance and hubris that will undoubtedly affect their future negatively and significantly. …

“It has already lost President Morsi any legitimacy he may have had in the eyes of the Egyptians who were willing to give him a chance to prove that he was ‘a president for all Egyptians’ as he repeatedly claimed and not a ‘president for the Brotherhood’ as his detractors insisted.”

Radwan notes that Morsi also failed to address “the country’s chronic problems of poverty and unemployment and a debilitating inequality in income and wealth distribution that most view as a ticking time bomb.” Instead, his government pursued “a mad run for investments, primarily from the Saudis and the Qataris and for international capital in the form of donations or even loans.

“This is not the planning of reformers, activists or even politicians and aspirants for power. This the planning of capitalists and business entrepreneurs, not surprising if one believes along with many observers of the Muslim Brotherhood that the real decisions of the Brotherhood and the presidency are currently being made not by Morsi or the Brotherhood’s supreme leader, Muhammad Badie, but by its deputy chairman and former candidate, Khairat al-Shatir. Al-Shatir is a self-declared multi-million dollar business tycoon whose wealth and business interests have neither been denied by him or unknown to others.” See in Salon: “Demonized in the U.S. as radical terrorists, Egypt’s Islamists are actually led by free-market businessmen.”